See the guidelines on the DJR site here

The purpose of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities: Draft Guidelines for legislation and policy officers in Victoria (Charter Guidelines) is to assist legal and policy officers to identify the impact of the Charter on legislation and policy development across the Victorian Government. Specifically, the Charter Guidelines are designed to equip you with the necessary information to enable you to integrate human rights considerations into legislation and policy development. They are also intended to assist program managers to assess whether their programs are delivered in a way that is consistent with the Charter.

 It should be noted that the Charter Guidelines were published in 2008 and may not therefore reflect the most up to date or current practices or include recent case developments.

    The Charter Guidelines will nevertheless continue to help you to:

    • identify whether your department or agency's existing and proposed legislation, policies and practices are likely to be compatible with the Charter;
    • explore ways of achieving desired policy outcomes which are compatible with the Charter;
    • improve your level of awareness and understanding of the Charter and of what it requires in the legal and policy development process; and
    • identify areas of potential legal risk for your department.


    The Charter Guidelines will assist you in:

    • reviewing existing legislation by enabling you to identify whether your department’s existing legislation complies with the Charter, and, if it does not comply, by assisting you to prepare legislative amendments to ensure compliance.
    • preparing new Bills and statutory rules by enabling you to prepare a statement of compatibility or human rights certificate which is required to be presented to Parliament for all new Bills and most statutory rules, respectively.
    • Program delivery by assisting you to identify whether a program is delivered in a way that is consistent with the Charter.


    The ways in which the Charter impacts on existing and proposed legislation are discussed in Part 1.2.

    The Charter Guidelines are not intended to be a definitive legal text on the Charter. It will be necessary in many cases to supplement your knowledge of the areas covered in the Charter Guidelines with further research and reading.

    Who are the Charter Guidelines for?

    The Charter Guidelines have been written primarily for legal and policy officers in the Victorian public service. In particular they have been written for those responsible for developing new policies and preparing drafting instructions for legislation, whether a Bill or an amendment to existing legislation. They have also been designed to be useful to those who draft legislation in the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.


    Others may find them useful, including program managers, public sector managers and staff, and ministerial advisers and staff.

    As the Charter imposes obligations on ‘public authorities’, these Charter Guidelines may also be useful to those individuals, agencies, organisations, local government and some private bodies who come within the ‘public authority’ definition. However, it is important to note that the Charter Guidelines have not been written for this audience.


    The layout -

    The Charter Guidelines are divided into three parts.

    Part 1 introduces the Charter Guidelines and contains an overview of the Charter.

    Part 2 relates specifically to legislation and policy development and discusses how the Charter will affect the work of legal and policy officers. It also discusses how to apply the Charter, and an important part of this is a discussion on how to apply s. 7, which outlines when human rights may be limited.

    Part 3 contains the substantive discussion on each of the individual rights found in ss. 8 to 27 of the Charter. Each right is considered, section by section. After first setting out the terms of the section, the following headings appear:

    Policy triggers – Do I need to consider section --?

    This section lists policy triggers. The purpose of the triggers is to draw your attention to the areas in which the right needs to be examined. They will help you work out whether the particular right is likely to be engaged by a particular legislative provision or policy. The triggers are provided by way of example of the areas in which the right has arisen in international human rights law and comparative law. The triggers provided are not exhaustive of all the areas in which the right needs to be examined.


    The triggers are not indicative of whether a particular legislative provision or policy infringes the right. They indicate whether that provision or policy is likely to have some impact on the right, whether it might ‘interfere’ with, or impose some limit on, a particular right. If a particular legislative provision or policy would interfere with a right, it will be necessary to consider whether the interference or limitation imposed on the right is reasonable or justified.

    Discussion (Referred online as ‘What the right means’)

    This section provides a referenced discussion of the scope and content of the human right in international human rights law and comparative law. It will guide you on the meaning of the right and also help you to work out if a particular legislative provision or policy may not be compatible with the right.

    It is necessarily abbreviated and is not a legal textbook on human rights. As noted above, you are encouraged to supplement this discussion with wider reading about human rights.

    Reasonable Limits --

    This section provides some general guidance on the permissible limits that can be applied to the particular right. This guidance supplements the general guidance on s. 7 of the Charter in Part 2.2 of the Charter Guidelines. You will need to consult Part 2.2 when deciding how s. 7 applies to a particular right.

    Key points to remember

    This contains a summary of the discussion of the right.

    Measures to improve compliance

    This section sets out options to guide you on how you might improve the degree of compliance with the right. These measures are not sufficient to guarantee compliance with the right. They are merely suggestions you may wish to consider. Departments are encouraged to develop their own measures to improve compliance with the rights in the Charter as these measures will in many cases be context specific.

    Related rights and freedoms

    This section alerts you to other related rights and freedoms contained in the Charter and to potential areas of overlap or inconsistency between them.

    History of the section

    This section briefly outlines the background to the right by identifying what it was modelled on. In most cases this section refers to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR. It also reminds you that similar rights exist in legislation and constitutional instruments in other countries and suggests that you refer to the appendix for further information. In the appendices you will find a table outlining sources of human rights from comparable jurisdictions.

    Bibliography (Referred online as ‘Cases and Commentary’)

    Finally, a bibliography of articles/books/reports/ case law and UN Human Rights Committee juripudence is provided. This should assist you to locate references mentioned in the Charter Guidelines.